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Wealth Management: Market Perspective

Sitting tight

  20 min

Kevin Gardiner and Victor Balfour

A distributable vaccine may be a little closer, and the new US administration may be both more predictable and less capable of damaging business, but in other respects the mood has been darkening as European governments have responded to the second wave of contagion by closing parts of the economy anew.

Whether local growth slows, stalls or goes into reverse depends on the severity and duration of the resumed closures. Elsewhere, China seems to be avoiding a second wave, while US closures – at least under the outgoing administration – remain more modest in scale.

The remarkably V-shaped revival in output through to September at least – faster even than we’d pencilled in – tells us that economies can still grow when they’re permitted to. People still want to travel, mingle and prosper: talk of a changed, less materialistic Western consumer always looked fanciful (many households simply can’t afford not to spend).

The risk of permanent damage is rising once more. But policy will again try to reduce that risk. The question for us as investors – thankfully we don’t have to tackle the wider social arithmetic – is whether to focus on renewed short-term losses and risks, or the continued probability of an eventual rebound. As in the spring, we advise sitting tight, with a bias towards business-related assets. We have not been expecting a distributable vaccine soon, but if one emerges, so much the better.

This edition of Market Perspective contains a selection of edited posts from our strategy blog. The topics tackled are as weighty as ever, including: a new US administration; the partial returns to lockdown; and – most remarkable perhaps – and an International Monetary Fund that says it’s okay to borrow.

 

Included in this edition:

Biden time

The US election result, while slow, was decisive, and brought with it a positive response from the stock market. With a Democrat victory, Kevin Gardiner and Victor Balfour look ahead to consider the relevance of the result for investors and its impact on portfolios.

So far, so V

Comparing GDP indices at the end of the third quarter to earlier this year, Kevin Gardiner and Victor Balfour examine the v-shaped recovery which followed March's dramatic downturn.

A darker mood

As we wait out the second national lockdown, Kevin Gardiner suggests sitting tight, despite any short-term volatility and tougher government restrictions.

Inflation: update

For now, inflation rates largely remain low, but looking ahead, Charlie Hines questions how inflation may start to dominate over time.

Inflation: get real

Considering longer-term inflation implications, Victor Balfour ask what effects this may have for investors.

IMF: this time is different

The IMF is now positively encouraging borrowing, and while Kevin Gardiner agrees that debt levels are more sustainable than feared, he remains uneasy nonetheless.

 

Click here to read the full edition of Market Perspective